Cardigan Lifeboat Station

Cardigan Lifeboat Station, at Poppit Sands, North Pembrokeshire, near Cardigan, Ceredigion, Wales, is a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeboat station opened in 1849. The station closed in 1932 but reopened in 1971 as an inshore lifeboat station.[1]

Cardigan Lifeboat Station
Cardigan Lifeboat Station
Cardigan Lifeboat Station is located in Wales
Cardigan Lifeboat Station
Cardigan, Ceredigion
General information
TypeRNLI Lifeboat Station
LocationCardigan, Ceredigion, Wales
CountryWales, UK
Coordinates52°06′17″N 4°41′58″W / 52.10472°N 4.69944°W / 52.10472; -4.69944
Owner Royal National Lifeboat Institution]

The present station operates both a D-class lifeboat and a B-class Atlantic 75 lifeboat.



The original Cardigan lifeboat station was built in 1849 (on the south side of the River Teifi estuary below Penrhyn Castle)[2] after the loss of the crew from the brig Agnes Lee. This station was taken over by the RNLI the following year.[3] In 1876 a replacement boathouse with slipway was built, the remains of which can be seen down the estuary at Black Rocks. In 1880, a small breakwater was built to protect the boathouse and launching site. The boathouse was abandoned in 1932, and the all-weather lifeboat was withdrawn, leaving the nearest stations at Fishguard and New Quay. The subsequent popularity of this area, with increased leisure incidents and accidents, led to the decision to construct a new station on the present site; this opened in 1971.[4]

In 1987 a new boathouse, built for the new C-class lifeboat, was officially opened. Then in 1998 a new double boathouse was completed for a B-class and D-class lifeboats, for the Talus MB-4H[5] launching vehicle, and it also provided improved crew facilities. Consequently, the station today houses two inshore lifeboats, which operate from the beach.[2]

The lifeboat crew have training sessions twice a week – on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings; visitors to the station are welcomed at these times. The station also houses an RNLI shop, open throughout the year, volunteers permitting.

Associated with the lifeboat station is a coastguard lookout post, part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency Emergency Response, located on the other side of the estuary, on the cliff top at Gwbert.[6][7]

In December 2011 a crew at the station – comprising Gemma Griffiths, Sarah Griffiths and Louise Francis - made history by being the first all-female volunteer lifeboat crew to respond to a callout in Wales.[8]

Cardigan Lifeboats


All-weather lifeboats (1849–1932)

ON[a] Name In service Class Comments
Unknown 1849–1850 27-foot Pulling
Unnamed 1850–1864 27-foot Whale Boat [9]
John Stuart 1864–1883 32-foot Self-Righting (P&S) [9]
177 Lizzie and Charles Leigh Clare 1883–1905 34-foot Self-righting (P&S) [10]
547 Elizabeth Austin 1905–1932 Liverpool-class (P&S) [10]

Station Closed in 1932

Inshore lifeboats (1971–)


C-class & D-class

Op. No.[b] Name In service [10] Class Comments
D-194 Unnamed 1971–1987 D-class (RFD PB16)
C-518 Unnamed 1987–1997 C-class Holed and sunk October 1993[11](was repaired and returned to service)
D-492 Lawnflite 1998 D-class (EA16)
D-467 Kathleen Scadden 1998–1999 D-class (EA16)
D-547 Society of Societies 1999–2009 D-class (EA16)
D-709 Elsie Ida Meade 2009–2019 D-class (IB1)
D-845 John Darbyshire 2019– D-class (IB1)


Op. No. Name In service [10] Class Comments
B-752 Tanni Grey 1999–2013 Atlantic 75
B-871 Albatross 2013– Atlantic 85 [12]
  1. ^ ON is the RNLI's Official Number of the boat.
  2. ^ Op. No. is the RNLI's Operational Number of the boat carried on the hull.


An early 20th century postcard entitled "Black Rocks and Lifeboat House" (centre, just above waterline). This was the 1876 boathouse.

Five RNLI medals, three silver and two bronze, are among the various awards presented for service at Cardigan Lifeboat Station.[13] These include:

  • In 1873 Coastguard Richard Jinks received a Silver Medal for saving two crew members from the Ocean, a boat which had run aground on Cardigan Bar.[14]
  • In 1888 Coxswain William Niles received a long service Silver Medal.[14]
  • In 1901 Coxswain David Rees received a Silver Medal on his retirement.[14]
  • In 1919 A Bronze Medal was awarded to Coxswain Thomas Bowen for his part in the rescue of 10 seamen from the steam yacht Conservator[15]
  • In 1972 V Evans and R Evans received Letters of Thanks following the rescue of four people after their boat capsized on Cardigan Bar.[14]
  • In 1979 Helmsman Vernon Evans was awarded the Thanks of the Institution for saving four crew members from the yacht Snow Rych in Cardigan Bay.[14]
  • In 1980, following the saving of four people and a dog from a motor cruiser in 5m seas, Helmsman Robert Reynolds received a Bronze Medal, and Vernon Evans and Charles Sharp were awarded the Thanks of the Institution.[14]
  • In 1997 Crew Members Jeremy Thomas and Leonard Walters received the Thanks of the Institution following the rescue of three people from near Penbryn Beach, who had been cut off by the tide.[14]
  • In 2005, after saving three men cut off by the tide at Fathganeg Rock, and in very dangerous conditions, helmsman Dyfrig Brown received the Thanks of the Institution.[14]
  • In 2013 Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award.[16]
  • In 2013 the St David Bravery Award was given to Derek Pusey, Leonard Walters and Clive Williams for the night rescue of walkers cut off by the tide.[17]
  • In 2014 The Lady Swaythling Trophy was awarded to Helmsman Derek Pusey from the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society.
  • In 2014 Crewman Clive Williams received a Commendation for bravery from the Shipwrecked Mariners' Society.
  • In 2014 Helmsman Leonard Walters received a Framed letter of thanks of the Institution.

Note: The three 2014 awards were made for the same rescue[18]

See also



  1. ^ "Cardigan Lifeboat Station". Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b – Cardigan station history Retrieved 27 August 2012
  3. ^ "Those were the days". Tivyside Advertiser. 2 May 1996. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  4. ^ Poppit Sands Information Board
  5. ^ "Talus MB-4H Tractor". Description and details of the Model. Clayton Engineering Limited. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  6. ^ Map of Maritime & Coastguard Agency Emergency Response Centres Retrieved 10 May 2014
  7. ^ UK Government Properties database Retrieved 10 May 2014
  8. ^ "'First' all-female Welsh RNLI crew lead rescue at Cardigan". BBC News. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  9. ^ a b Leonard, Richie; Denton, Tony (2021). Lifeboat Enthusiasts Handbook 2021 (2021 ed.). Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 2–18.
  10. ^ a b c d Leonard, Richie; Denton, Tony (2024). Lifeboat Enthusiasts Handbook 2024. Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society. pp. 4–132.
  11. ^ "Cardigan & District Shipwrecks and Lifeboat Service". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  12. ^ "First Cardigan lifeboat dedication ceremony since 1905". BBC. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  13. ^ RNLI - Lifeboat Station: Cardigan's station history Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h "Station History » CARDIGAN LIFEBOAT STATION".
  15. ^ Lewis, W.J. (1990). Gateway to Wales: A History of Cardigan. Retrieved 28 October 2014.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Cardigan RNLI volunteers awarded the Walter and Elizabeth Groombridge Award". Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Bravery award for Cardigan RNLI volunteers". Tivyside Advertiser. 13 March 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Bravery awards after Cardigan lifeboat rescue". BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2014.